Rights of employees under Dutch law
1. Equality under employment law in the Netherlands
Under employment law in the Netherlands, the employer cannot discriminate between female and male employees when payment is concerned.
All the component parts of employee remuneration must be calculated equally between the male and female employees.
If there is a noticeable difference in pay between male and female employees then it must be purely unrelated to whether the employees are male or female.
This also means that an employer cannot discriminate on pay based on race, disability, full time/part time work and fixed-term/indefinite contracts, and that agency workers must be paid the same as employees undertaking the same work.
Similarly to the selection process, an employer is not able to discriminate based on religion, political opinion, nationality, race, sex, sexual orientation, civil status, handicap, age or the nature of the employment.
In certain circumstances, positive discrimination may be permitted under Dutch law.
2. Employee privacy in the Netherlands
Data protection in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands the collection, storage and processing of your data is regulated by the Dutch Data Protection Authority.
Under Dutch law the employer must give the employee information regarding the data they have collected and how it will be used and stored.
The Dutch Data Protection Authority can impose hefty fines to employers for any infringements under the GDPR in the Netherlands.
Employer monitoring employees in the Netherlands
Under employment law in the Netherlands an employer may monitor the email, internet and telephone use of the employee as long as it does not infringe on the GDPR.
However, the employer must have a legitimate reason for the monitoring which outweighs the right to privacy of the employee. An employer can only secretly monitor the employee under very strict conditions.
Data access in the Netherlands
Under employment law in the Netherlands employees have a right to their personal data in a portable format, as well as the right to transfer the data to another data controller.
Further, the employee may review and rectify their personal information that has been collected and stored. Some information can be excluded from review, but only under limited circumstances.
3. Employee pay and benefits under employment law in the Netherlands
Under employment law in the Netherlands all employees above 23 years of age are entitled to minimum wage determined by statute, and employees younger than 23 are entitled to a percentage of the minimum wage.
The employee will be entitled to be paid on the time agreed by them and their employer, and must receive an itemised payslip. Generally, employees will be paid monthly however the employer and employee are free to choose the agreed time. Every year the minimum wage under employment law in the Netherlands is adjusted on the 1st January and 1st July.
4. Pensions for employees under employment law in the Netherlands
Employers generally do not have to provide a pension for employees, however in some industries a pension scheme will need to be provided by the employer. Employers will also be required to calculate and deduct income tax from their employees’ pay. Absolutely no distinction may be made between male and female employees in terms of payment criteria.
5. Cars for employees under employment law in the Netherlands
Employers may provide non-cash benefits such a company car, however they are under no obligation to do so unless the non-cash benefit is based on a collective bargaining agreement.
6. Work hours and rest periods under employment law in the Netherlands
Under employment law in the Netherlands an employee may work for a maximum of 12 hours per shift and a maximum of 60 hours per week.
However in a period of 16 weeks, an employee is only able to work a maximum of 48 hours per week on average – including overtime.
Under employment law in the Netherlands it is possible to deviate from this rule through a collective bargaining agreement (approved by the Works Council) or by an agreement with the Works Council. Any such agreement will be limited to 60 hours per week and a maximum of 12 hours per day.
Night shifts under employment law in the Netherlands
What is a “night shift” under employment law in the Netherlands?
Night shift is defined as working for more than 1 hours during the hours between midnight and 6am. Those working night shift may not work more than 36 night shifts in any 16 week period, and up to a maximum of 117 per year. The night shift limit may also be altered by a collective labour agreement but this may not altered to any more than 140 days per year.
Rest period under employment law in the Netherlands
What is a “rest period” under employment law in the Netherlands?
Under Dutch law a worker is not required to work more than 5 hours and 30 minutes without a rest period of at least 30 minutes.
An employee is also entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours in a 24 hour period in which they work for their employer. Certain circumstances can alter this arrangement, for example night shift workers will generally be entitled to 14 hours in between the end of their nightshift and the next time they are required to work.
7. Holiday entitlements under employment law in the Netherlands
Annual leave in the Netherlands
What is the annual leave under employment law in the Netherlands?
Employees are entitled to annual leave equivalent to 4 times their number of weekly working hours, which is 20 days per year for a 40 hour working week. This can be extended where it has been agreed to in a collective labour agreement.
In the Netherlands annual leave entitlements may roll over into a new year for up to 6 months – this period may be longer depending on collective labour agreements.
Holiday allowance in the Netherlands
What is the holiday allowance under employment law in the Netherlands?
The employer is obliged to pay holiday allowance of 8% of their employees’ annual pay.
However, this does not apply where an employee earns more than three times the statutory minimum.
Further, there is no statutory right under Dutch law to a paid or unpaid day off during national holidays, but it remains common practice to grant paid days off during national holidays.
8. Sickness entitlements under employment law in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, if an employee were to suffer from a long term illness, he or she is entitled to 70% of their salary for the first 104 weeks of their illness in the case where their salary is not above the statutory maximum.
If the wage is above the statutory maximum under employment law in the Netherlands, then the employer is not obliged to pay 70% of the salary, but often times will still do so.
In the Netherlands, it is not unusual for the employer to pay 100% of their salary for the first 52 weeks, and then reduce this to 70% for the final 52 weeks.
Recklessness or hindrance of the recovery process
If the illness was caused by the intentional or deliberate reckless act by the employee, or if the employee deliberately hinders is recovery process, then under employment law in the Netherlands the employee may not be entitled to sick pay and could even be dismissed.
Both the employer and employee are also under an obligation to get the employee back to working condition as quickly as possible.
Depending on the situation, the sick pay may be extended to three years or in cases where the employee deliberately hinders the recovery process, sanctions may be imposed on the employee under employment law in the Netherlands..
9. Parental rights under employment law in the Netherlands
Pregnant employees in the Netherlands
What are the leave rights and what is the dismissal protection of pregnant employees under employment law in the Netherlands?
Pregnant employees are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave, starting no more than up to 6 weeks from before the expected birth up to 10 weeks after birth. During this period, the employee is entitled to 100% of their pay (up to a statutory ceiling) from their employer.
The Netherlands state will reimburse the employer for the amount they paid their employee on pregnancy or maternity leave.
The employee is also protected from dismissal during pregnancy. An employer may not dismiss an employee during pregnancy or maternity leave, or for a period of up to 6 weeks after they return from work. They can only be made redundant after this period under exceptional circumstances.
Extra benefits are also given to pregnant employees and breastfeeding employees. An employer must ensure that the pregnant or breastfeeding employee is in a safe working environment and must give concession and adapt working hours where it is necessary for the maintenance of the health of the employee.
Under employment law in the Netherlands the employee is also entitled to use a portion of her working time to breast feed their child for a period of up to 9 months after birth.
Partners’ rights under employment law in the Netherlands
Under employment law in the Netherlands the partner is entitled to be paid leave after childbirth.
For the next 4 weeks after birth, they are entitled to 5 days of fully paid paternity leave. In addition, they are also entitled to an extra 3 days of unpaid paternity leave which the employer cannot refuse.
Both of the parents are entitled to 26 weeks of parental leave up until the child reaches 8 years old.
This leave is unpaid, but this can become paid leave if the situation was addressed in a collective labour agreement.
If the child becomes sick, the parent will be entitled to take short term care for the child, and may take partly paid leave.